DELAWARE, Ohio (May 12) — Drag racing champion Mike Coughlin recently spent a day at his home track of National Trail Raceway helping noted car builder Chris Sondles shakedown a pair of very unique hot rods.

The owner of Woody’s Hot Rodz in Bright, Ind., Sondles was selected by Street Rodder magazine to build this year’s Coast-to-Coast cruiser, a project that will be extensively outlined in an upcoming issue. Each year, Street Rodder selects a custom car builder to put a car together with the caveat being that the car must be driven across the country to prove that it’s road worthy.

Sondles selected a 1952 Chevrolet Deluxe 2-Door Hardtop built it on an Art Morrison prototype chassis and filled it with many parts he got through JEGS High Performance. Sondles used Strange rear end, gears, axles, and coil-over shocks, Wilwood disc brakes, a Smeding 383 stroker SBC engine with Barry Grant 6 Shooter carburetors, a Gearstar 4L60 overdrive transmission, BFGoodrich G-Force KDW tires on Wheel Vintiques wheels, a Flowmaster exhaust, a Custom U.S. Radiator, and an Aeromotive Stealth fuel system.

“Like everything that Chris does, the car was beautiful,” said Coughlin, the 2007 Division 3 Top Sportsman champion. “Even better, it handled like the nicest go-kart ever built and it had an incredible amount of power.

“I drove my (Corvette) Z06 to the track and when we started testing the Chevy on this cone-course they had set up, the hardtop was actually quicker through there than my car. It was the same thing on the skid pad test — that little hardtop easily outperformed my Z06. It was amazing.”

Just days before the scheduled test of the ’52 Chevy, Sondles and crew completed a build-out of a 1965 Mercury Comet for customers Josh and Kathy Martin of Alexandria, Va., and as is his standard protocol, Sondles wanted to test it out before handing over the keys.

As usual, Sondles used many parts from JEGS during the construction of the Comet, which featured an Art Morrison Max G Muscle Car Chassis, Strange rear end, gears, axles, and coil-over shocks, a Mustang Shelby GT500 5.4L Supercharged engine, a Tremec T56 6-speed transmission, Borla Stainless Steel exhaust, Wilwood disc brakes, BFGoodrich G Force KDW tires mounted on BonSpeed Huntington Wheels, and a BeCool radiator.

“Scary fast,” Coughlin said in describing the Comet. “Having that big supercharged engine really made a difference. I can tell you the Martins are really going to enjoy this car.

“Chris and his guys restored a ’77 Z-28 for me and, just like these two cars, the thing came out so nice you almost don’t want to drive it on the road. He does such beautiful work.

“I’m excited to keep up with the journey of the Chevy Hardtop. As it makes it’s way across the country it will be making stops at different car shows and cruise nights so I hope to get out and see it again. For sure it will be fun to read the Street Rodder article, especially after driving the car.”

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